Visiting the Datoga tribe will complete your cultural experience at Lake Eyasi. The Datoga are skilled farmers and craftsmen. These pastoralists are also skilled silversmith’s who live near the Hadzabe and supply them with iron tips, knives and spears in exchange for honey and fruits. Their origins are the Horn of Africa and thought to have immigrated some 3,000 years ago. They wear traditional dress decorated in colored beads and the women often have facial scarification for beauty.
The Datoga are proud people and have a reputation as being fierce warriors. Young Datoga men used to prove themselves by killing any human being who was not a Datoga therefore, considered an enemy. They also proved themselves by killing dangerous wild animals, such as buffalo, lion or elephant. The Datoga have adapted to their new environments and dress in reddish brown, the color of soil. The colorful reddish color clothing worn by the Datoga women are patched leather dresses. They also wear beadwork, brass bracelets, and necklaces. The Datoga are also distinguishable by their decorative tattooing in circular patterns around their eyes.
Cattle are the Datoga’s most important domestic animal. They also heard goat, donkey and sheep, and raise chickens. Similar to the Maasai culture, they eat meat, cow dung, hide fat, milk, horns, blood and tendons for either practical or ritual reasons. As former pastoral nomads, they depended on milk products and moved whenever their cattle needed to relocate for grazing purposes. They have now adapted to an agrarian lifestyle and farm plots of maize, beans, and millet. Living in semi-arid areas where water is scarce and often unclean, therefore their lives tend to be difficult.
During a visit you will experience their habitat and culture first hand by visiting a traditional homestead run by the women. You will have wonderful photo opportunities of the Datoga women in traditional dress. You will also have the opportunity to visit the traditional Datoga Silversmith’s in their outside workshops.